The Oxford “er”

I say, after brekkers do you want to see if Tollers from the Bodder wants to play some rugger or soccer for eccer? This “er” slang abbreviation came from Oxford University, where it has been in use since the 19th century.

Ozeye [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
First, a quick translation: brekkers = breakfast; Tollers = J. R. R. Tolkien; Bodder = the Bodleian Library; rugger = rugby; soccer = association football; eccer = exercise. This slang, shortening words and adding “er” or “ers” on the end, is apparently ubiquitous at Oxford University.

As a cutesy abbreviation it is – I’m sure – mostly used satirically. I mean, consider terms like “Maggers Memoggers,” “Pragger Wagger,” and “congratters.” Would, could, anyone use those sincerely?

As a form of abbreviation, I’ve also seen this in Australian English, along with the Aussie “-ie” (barbie, mozzie, pokie, cardie) and “-o” (agro, arvo, journo, and mo). I couldn’t tell you if they’re related to the Oxford “-er,” but given the antipodean antipathy to ostentatious class markers I doubt it.

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